The unsavoury scenes broadcast live from Washington DC to a global audience on January 6th afternoon shocked and appalled. Donald Trump supporters stormed the Capitol building, considered the home of US democracy, in a desperate effort to halt the official certification of Joe Biden as the presidential election winner. These events were something which many spoke about as a possibility but truly never thought they would play out. Many commentators see it as an unfortunate, yes fitting end, to a Donald Trump presidency which has done little for unification and leaves a deeply divided country in its wake.
Despite Vice President Mike Pence and Republican Leader Mitch McConnell seeing the light and refusing to meddle in the official certification process of Joe Biden as election winner, the Betfair Exchange is still trading 1.11 (90%) that Trump doesn’t leave his post as Commander in Chief before the end of his first term. With only days left to the official transition of power on January 20th, many would believe that represents value, but since last Wednesday the market has been hugely volatile. At one stage in the early hours of Jan 7th morning, Trump traded as big as 1.20 (83%) to complete his term with further fuel added to that fire by the likes of Nancy Pelosi who publicly suggest he should be removed from obvious. Despite the noise around this, the timelines are pretty tricky to align, and it’s probably safer to consider many of these calls as political point-scoring for future use. Particularly now that President Trump has promised a peaceful transition of power.
Absent at the Inauguration, present in the markets
But will President Trump himself be in attendance to see that transition of power then? As of last Friday afternoon, the answer is most definitely no. President Trump used his personal Twitter account for the last time to make his intentions for January 20th known. When the book closed at Paddy Power, he was heavily favoured 2/5 (71%) not to be in attendance.
But if President Trump isn’t washing his infamous hair while not in attendance, what might he be up to? Once again Paddy Power are quick off the mark and have installed 1/2 (66%) 'Playing golf' as a short-priced favourite. We all know that Trump is very much worried about his personal appearance, so next in the betting is ‘Tanning’ at 6/1 (14%). If you’re interested in long shots, ‘Speaking with Kim Jong-un on the telephone’ 25/1 (4%) and ‘On a plane to Russia’ 50/1 (2%) might tickle your fancy!
Together with all these prices on Trump’s leisure activities while Joe Biden’s presidency is inaugurated on January 20th, Paddy Power is also offering special odds on where he will be that same day, which seems like a safer bet given Donald’s usual destinations during his free time in recent years. Following the golf expectations, is not surprising at all seeing ‘Florida’ as short as 1/3 (75%), followed by 'Washington' 3/1 (25%) and 'New York' 10/1 (9%).
Pardon specials and an eye on 2024
On the other hand, Smarkets’ sportsbook SBK have several other specials which also appear very relevant when recent times are considered. Trump to auto-pardon before next Friday is now as short as 13/11 (46%) – with a potential list of skeletons in the closet, this might represent some value! If you cast the net a little wider to the entire family, it’s 11/13 (54%) he pardons a any of his children before the end of his term on January 20th. With many of them having done his business bidding for him over the last number of years, who knows what they might have been up to that needs pardoning!
While there are many social and political impacts as a result of this week’s events, one market which highlights these somewhat is the 2024 Presidential Election. Headed by Kamala Harris and Joe Biden at every single bookie, Republican’s have been on the slide with the exception of Vice President Mike Pence, at 10/1 (9%) with William Hill. Donald Trump himself is now also out to 10/1 (9%) at Paddy Power & Betfair from a single-digit price (7/1, 13%) if he does, in fact, fancy having another attempt. Other major market drifters in recent days include Republicans Josh Hawley 80/1 (1%) and Mitt Romney 50/1 (2%).
No matter how the coming days and weeks play out, this Political Joe is confident it won’t signify the end of the Trump name in US Politics, however, what form it might take is one of the great unknowns.